8 Exercises I WISH I Did Years Ago! (WASTED GAINS)

8 Exercises I WISH I Did Years Ago! (WASTED GAINS)


Damn! If only I was doing that sooner. What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. How many times have you said that before? Or something like it. Like, “I wish I knew that sooner”, or
“I wish I was doing that earlier”. I’m going to tell you, today I’m going
to dedicate an entire video to the 8 exercises that I wish I was doing a lot sooner in my
lifting career. Not just in terms of the gains I could have
seen, but more importantly, the spirit in which I could have seen them because I wasted
a hell of a lot of time. So, we’ve got 8 things to cover here. Without further ado, let’s get right into
it. This first exercise might be fresh on your
mind because we actually covered it in depth, here on this channel just a couple of weeks
ago. This is a variation of a lat pulldown. This is what we call the ‘rocking pulldown’. No, not the bad version of the rocking pulldown. I’m talking about the one that actually
delivers gains. This is a vertical pull that still allows
us to get that extension of the arm back, behind the body. Remember, one of the biggest limitations to
the lat pulldown as it’s done normally is that you don’t really get good extension
behind the body, which is limiting the effectiveness of the lats. But by doing it this way we can actually overcome
that. As you guys know, I always over deliver here
on this channel. So, I’m not just giving you 8. It turns out I’m going to give you 9 because
I have another back exercise here that I really, really wish I was doing sooner. It’s a high pulley one-armed row. You can see when I do this I have all the
elements I need to get a better lat contraction, and better lat activation. I’m actually able to get my arm up way out
in front of my body, getting that lat on a stretch that nothing else really provides
because my arm is not just up over my head, but out in front. Then I can get that rotation and extension
back behind my body that we were talking about with the rocking pulldown. But both of these exercises, I really believe,
have led to some of my best gains – even in recent years – from doing this instead
of the classic alternatives. This next one is actually more than just an
exercise. It’s a training concept that I wish I had
adopted and used a lot sooner in my training. It’s developing my straight arm scapular
strength. I believe when it’s maximized you’re going
to realize hidden strength you never knew you had. Especially if it carries over to some of the
big exercises like the deadlift, but more importantly by improving the stability of
your shoulders. It’s going to allow you to have a lot more
training longevity by protecting and strengthening your joints. All you have to do is look at this guy for
proof that it actually works. This is my fitness idol, Sylvester Stallone. Here he is in his 70s, including a heavy dose
of straight arm scapular strength work in his training. For reasons of why he continues to inspire
me, I placed an exercise on my Instagram page that he follows, that was our example of a
more advanced version of straight arm scapular work. That’s the headbanger pullup. Of course, a couple of days later, who shows
up banging them out? Sly himself, doing an amazing job. I’m telling you guys, this is tough stuff. And here he is never backing down from a challenge. The key thing is, you’d better start doing
the same. You can do it with a very simple, straight
forward exercise here, like the straight arm pushdown. It doesn’t require a big cable setup. You could do this with a band if you want
to. The key is, you keep your arms straight, you
drive down, and you stabilize with the scapula. You’ll feel this exercise working properly
if you don’t feel it in your triceps. If you start to bend your elbows and the triceps
start taking over the work, then you’re not doing it properly. You could take this to an even more advanced
level with some bodyweight exercises like the front lever raise. But the fact is, guys, I don’t care how
you do it, you have to include straight arm scapular work as an entire training concept
into your training. And you will not regret it. I really, really wish I had started this a
lot sooner. Apologies in advance on this next exercise,
but the best way to demonstrate it is to use those thigh high shorts that Jesse popularized
just a couple of videos ago. Now, I promise you, I made him wash these
first. This is the glute ham raise. The benefit of this exercise is that it’s
targeting the glutes. I have to be honest, guys. A long time ago when I first started training
I never realized the importance of this muscle group. But now, as a trainer to professional athletes,
the glutes literally sit right up there with the core, in terms of their importance and
function. As a matter of fact, I would argue it’s
even more important than the front side of the core muscle because they’re the ones
that are trying to help us counteract that downward force of gravity. So, the key element this exercise provides
is, it allows us to integrate the glutes and the hamstrings, into one movement and prioritize
the glutes as the main drivers, letting the hamstrings accessorize, and help out. What we see with this exercise, what you’re
trying to do, is get the glutes to do the work they don’t want to do. If you haven’t focused on glute training
your glutes are likely taking a back seat, literally, to what the job is at hand. Then that forces the hamstrings to take on
a load that they can’t handle. That’s when hamstring strains occur. So, if you do this exercise you’re likely
going to see that your hamstring injury rate will go down, and your overall posterior chain
is going to be stronger. You have to get these two muscles to work
together if you want to optimize the performance of your lower body. Especially if you want to start training more
like an athlete. Let’s stick with the legs. For that matter, let’s stick with those
shorts, too, as we break out this next exercise. It’s the squat. Before we actually talk about the fact that
I’m squatting onto a pair of dumbbells, I want you to focus on the width of my feet. You see, I think it’s really, really important
that you find the width that works for you early on in your training and stick with that. I was always the type to follow what the magazines
said, and it was always the classic ‘feet at least shoulder width apart, toes out, and
start squatting’. But it never felt right to me. It always felt like my knees, which were already
sore from sports, were getting more, and more aggravated from doing that. Until I actually started to narrow my stance. I determined my ability to narrow my stance
based on that natural jumping position. If I was going to jump right now I’d be
a lot more narrow. A little bit inside shoulder width. As a matter of fact, if I were to roll and
do a rolling getup from the floor I would find that my knees, and my feet would take
a much more narrow stance. So, for me, that’s what’s natural. I encourage you to find that because if you
keep trying to squat from an unnatural position it’s only going to do more harm than good
for those knees. To take that a step further, I also wish I
was doing box squats a lot sooner as well. Because of the fact that my patellar tendons
were always on fire from some of that damage from playing sports, I was always reluctant
to allow myself to really let the quads take on the brunt of the force as I dropped down
to a squat. I would really shortchange my depth every,
single time, which was contributing to more anterior force into my knees, and only aggravating
the situation. But by providing something down there for
me – as a proprioceptive feedback for my butt on every, single rep – it allowed me
to comfortably let those tendons relax, let the quads take on the brunt, and get better
results from doing it. Back up to the upper body. Actually, a variation of an exercise that
I did do for a very long time since the beginning of my training, but not this way. This is the dip. We know that the dip has the capacity to help
us build our shoulders, our chest, and our triceps. But it’s actually got broader abilities. It can help us develop more scapular strength
and stability through our upper body, and also integrate more of these core muscles
that are right here, nearby, begging to be trained. So, we have a little bit of a three-way dip
circuit. It’s something I covered in our holy trinity
of ab training because, yes, you’re going to hit those muscles. The fact that you go down into a dip, when
you come up to the top you add that all-important plus portion that engages the serratus anterior
that’s going to provide the stability to your shoulder blades, once again. You see how important that concept is. Then from there, if you tuck your pelvis up
here, into a posterior tilt you engage the abs. Now when we come back down you twist a little
bit, causing that oblique activation of the obliques themselves, and then you start to
involve them when you repeat the movement. You go right, you go center, you go left;
the fact is, this is still going to give you those same benefits to all those bigger show
muscles that you’re doing the exercise for in the first place. But adding in this critical component that’s
providing that stability and longevity to your training. Let’s stick with the shoulders and chest
here for the next exercise that, again, I wish I had started doing a lot earlier because
I like the integration that this exercise allows. This is a crush grip dumbbell press out. When you think about what’s going on here,
we’re trying to train the front delts, and we’re trying to train it in a bit of an
explosive manner. But we also need – for the safety and health
of our shoulders – to have that stable platform from which we’re pressing off. We can get it from the chest. Under normal circumstances when we have our
arms out, in front of our body here in a front shoulder raise, we have a little bit of this
triangle action going on here. Two dumbbells out here, coming into a single
point here on the chest. But if we can get an active contraction of
the chest by squeezing our hands on that crush grip, on that dumbbell, we broaden that contraction,
broaden the base of stability out so now our shoulders can work with more strength and
power. That’s what’s going on here. Not to mention the fact that these muscles
prefer to work together, right here in close proximity to each other, are getting that
opportunity for, maybe, the first time. You can see that, one more time, it’s not
just these muscles, but the entire upper body starts to kick in and stabilize. So, you’re getting the benefits of building
those front delts, but at the same time you’re getting a lot more stability throughout the
entire upper torso while doing it. Before you get carried away and get so front-side
dominant, you must do this next exercise, if you’re not already doing it. As a matter of fact, I’ve made an entire
video about this being the one thing you should do after every, single workout if you want
to start working on addressing those imbalances that you likely had from not focusing enough
on it. This is the face pull. Guys, I’ll actually link that video for
you at the end of this one because I feel it’s that important for you to watch. The face pull allows us to work those over
looked, underutilized muscles of the posterior chain, actually involving external rotation
to hit the rotator cuff, you’re getting the rear delts, you’re getting the mid-scapular
muscles to fire; you’re hitting all those muscles that often times don’t get the attention
they need. I really, really feel like there’s one thing
– even if there are kids training here at 11, and 12 years old – if they did this
exercise with tubing they’d be doing themselves a great service to set themselves up and set
the stage for great gains down the road. If you haven’t already started incorporating
this, guys, you need to start doing this exercise. Finally, we have something that’s more of
a concept than an exercise, but I am going to show you a few exercises here. By the way, I think this pushes our total
well past 8, but it doesn’t matter. If we’re getting the benefit here that’s
all that matters. This is something we call an overcoming isometric. Now, I’ve talked about this before, and
I’m going to reiterate it again here. This is something that I didn’t start doing
personally until the last couple of years and I think it’s made a dramatic impact
on my muscularity. I wish I had started a lot sooner. What we’re doing here is taking an exercise,
setting it up at any specific angle for that exercise, and focusing on moving an immovable
object. In this case, if we’re working on our chest,
I’m really trying to pull across my body as hard as I possibly can without these things
moving. But what we’re working on here is the efficiency
of motor fiber recruitment. As I pull, and I pull, and I pull, and I pull
I’m getting this building recruitment of more, and more muscles fibers to the task
at hand. Not enough to actually help me overcome it,
but this will translate back when you go to these non-isometric exercises and try to exert
more strength. The strength you build from doing this is
going to carry over into the actually application of the exercise itself, which allows you to
get increased hypertrophy over the long run because of that applied strength. Anybody that tells you that isometrics don’t
build strong don’t understand the power of isometrics. Again, we don’t have to just do it to the
chest itself. We can do it here in a bicep variation as
well. Remember, when you take whatever angle of
the exercise you’re going to use, you’re only going to get a specific benefit above,
and below that. You need to experiment a little more within
that range to get the complete benefits throughout the range of motion. But the concept is still the same. I really, truly wish this is something I had
started a lot earlier in my training. So, there you have it, guys. There are the 8 things that I personally wish
I had implemented into my training a lot earlier. The fact is, because of this video I’m hoping
that a lot of you won’t have to make the same mistakes, or oversights that I did. Guys, if you’re looking for a training plan
that puts the science back in strength and now, hopefully overlooks nothing to give you
guys the best results, the fastest; that’s the ATHLEANX training program. It’s available over at ATHLEANX.com. In the meantime, if you want me to cover more
things, guys, if you let me know what it is I’ll do my best to do that for you in the
days and weeks ahead. All right, I’ll see you soon.